Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, North Tongu MP, is unhappy over the Finance Ministers delay in answering questions related to the cost involved in President Akufo-Addo’s recent trip abroad in a luxury jet which caused the country £15,000 per hour.
The MP is of the view that the Business Committee of Parliament is helping the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, not to appear before the House to account.
He, has, therefore, threatened to initiate a vote of censure against the Minister if he continues to delay in coming before the House to render accounts.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa had filed an urgent question demanding answers from Ken Ofori-Atta on the cost involved with the use of a private jet for President Akufo-Addo’s trips instead of the presidential jet.
The questions were admitted by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin and on June 1, 202, the first part of the question which had to do with the airworthiness of the falcon jet and was answered by the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul.
The second part of the question which involved cost and is to be answered by Ken Ofori-Atta is still pending because when the finance minister appeared before the house, he pleaded for more time to furnish the House on the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s recent trips.
Due to the minister’s plea, the question was subsequently taken off the Business Statement of Parliament, although the Minister had about two weeks earlier to prepare for the response.
But on Thursday, July 1, a memo from the former deputy education minister to the Chairman of the Business Committee of Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu read:
“With all due regard, I do not need to remind your esteemed committee that our Standing Orders under the provisions of Order 64 are unambiguous, that urgent questions have a strict window of ten working days within which they shall be responded to. That window has long elapsed.
It is imperative that an unfortunate impression is not created that the Parliament of Ghana is happy to undermine its own constitutional mandate of oversight by appearing to be assisting ministers to evade accountability and in the process weakening the democratic efficacy of the legislative arm.
I am also deeply concerned that Parliament seems to be creating a category of a Super Minister who is not subject to the Standing Orders of the august House. Why should the Finance Minister be given the latitude at his own whim to respond to an urgent question whenever he so desires?”
Ablakwa further indicated that, Ken Ofori-Atta’s conducted regarding the urgent question is unacceptable and must not be condoned in any way.
The MP could not comprehend how computing the bills of the president’s trip will be too complex to produce.
He, then, warned, “May I humbly serve notice that if the current contumelious hijack of Parliament by the Finance Minister is allowed to fester, a good number of my colleagues and I will not hesitate to exercise our mandate under Article 82(2)(b) of the 1992 Constitution to initiate a Vote of Censure on the Finance Minister.”
Read below his full memo.
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